Natalie Barr has broken down crying live on Sunrise over an emotional letter from South Australia’s grieving police commissioner to his son just days after he died after allegedly being hit by a car on Schoolies.
Charlie Stevens, 18, died surrounded by family and friends on Saturday night.
Just a day earlier he had been celebrating finishing high school at Goolwa, 90km southeast of Adelaide.
The Sunrise host was visibly emotional on Tuesday morning, choking back tears as fellow presenter Matthew Shirvington read an excerpt from the letter, his voice breaking at one point.
Tears forming in her eyes, Barr cut to an ad break after sharing the emotional tribute.
Charlie’s father, Police Commissioner Grant Stevens, penned the letter to his youngest son along with his wife Emma, introducing South Australians to the 101st life lost on the state’s roads this year.
“I am writing this sitting in a bedroom with dirty clothes on the floor, an unmade bed, six drinking glasses lined up on the bedside table, an empty KFC box next to the glasses, wardrobe doors left open and a row of skateboards leaning on the wall – it is a mess and it’s perfect. This is where 101 lived,” the parents wrote.
“101 is Charles Stevens – Charlie, Charlie Boy, Chas, Links, Steve. You lived life and gave so much to so many. You were a force of nature and we will never forget your beautiful cheeky, disarming smile.
“Son, brother, grandson, uncle, nephew, cousin, friends, workmate, teammate. So much more than just a number on a tragic tally.”
The heartbroken parents described the “last of five” as different.
“Cheeky, intense and funny – a loveable ratbag from the moment he could talk. He was as frustrating as hell, but he was also the kid who would look after others, befriend the lonely, and help those who were struggling,” they wrote.
“Intensity shone through as 101 committed to each new passion — Lego, BBL, scooters, footy, cricket, basketball, surfing, downhilling, Fortnight and his skateboard — it was all or nothing and it was always all.”
The parents also shared stories from their son’s passion for his work as an apprentice carpenter after finishing school.
“101 thrived at work, he loved working, he loved his job and he idolised his boss. It meant he had money for (take away) Tuesday and Wednesday Wings at the Feathers,” they wrote.
“ … On a good day, we would be lucky to see 101 for half an hour between him getting home from work and heading out with his mates, but it was enough.”
It comes as the teenager accused of being behind the wheel during the alleged hit-and-run was granted bail.
Three witnesses stated in court on Monday that Dhirren Randhawa, 18, performed a U-turn in his car and hit the late Mr Stevens as he and his friends were waiting for a Schoolies shuttle bus to take them to Victor Harbor from Goolwa Beach.
The witnesses, who said they were waiting with Charlie, say they flagged down Mr Randhawa, who was driving a blue VW Golf, to see if they could hitch a ride.
But there was not enough room in the car and the witnesses say Mr Randhawa drove away before making a U-turn.
He then allegedly sped up and started travelling on the wrong side of the road before hitting Charlie, court documents reveal.
There is no suggestion of animosity between the groups.
A witness from inside the car said that a group of young men were on the western side of the road, partially on the footpath, and that there was a single male on the other side.
She told the court that the male on the eastern side ran across the road into Mr Randhawa’s car.
The witness states Mr Randhawa then drove a short distance before calling his mother and asking whether he should turn himself in at a police station or call the police.
As he was talking to her, the police arrived and arrested him, the witness said.
Mr Randhawa fronted Christies Beach Magistrates Court for the first time on Monday, accompanied by his mother Amreeta Stara, who sat in the front row of the room.
She sat silently and did not say anything.
Mr Randhawa was granted bail, which was not opposed by Director of Public Prosecutions Martin Hinton KC, with conditions including forfeiting his passport, agreeing to reside with his mother and setting aside $15,000 as a guarantee.
Mr Randhawa is also banned from contacting four people connected to the case.
His mother expressed her condolences to the Stevens family in a statement on Saturday.
“I extend my deepest possible sympathies to the Stevens family and my heart is breaking to think of the suffering and pain they are experiencing,” she said. “Out of respect and acknowledging that this is now a matter for the courts, I won’t be saying anything further at this time.”